The Last Illusion

By | August 29, 2018
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Love – the last illusion of the illusionless man

This quote is from the very end of Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  First read in my teen years, I always considered it rather profound.  As the years have gone by I’m not so sure that I know what it means now.

So many years hoping to find the proof that love isn’t an illusion.  Seeing it in other people and yet never myself.

I can be incredibly moved by the great operatic loves.  Familiar operas like La Boheme or La Traviata tug at the heart strings for the absolute highs and then the lows of tragic loss of love.  Personally, the slow burn of Tristan und Isolde feels far more relevant.  A long build up of unrequited intensity only consummated as a spiritual entanglement in death during the sublime Liebestod – another illusion of love ?


And this, I think, is what I can accept love as meaning to me.  No fantasy any more of being bitten by the intensity of love at first sight, or the flash that says this is the soul mate whose side you never want to leave, or the lover you want to immediately elope with.

Intellectually I understand those manifestations of love and take joy in seeing them in others.  Emotionally, I don’t think I can personally encompass that level of understanding.  From what I read, that’s perhaps quite usual for an asexual, the immediate and intense physical passions are something of a mystery.  Yet they’re often made up for with the cerebral concepts of higher love.

Those spiritual types of love I can understand very well.  Back to opera again and something like the Dialogues des Carmelites or Rigoletto can leave me alternating between awe of spiritual or parental love and bawling my eyes out.

I look forward to other writers showing me glimpses of other truths about love.  Yet for me, those raw, visceral manifestations of love are as much of an illusion as they ever have been.

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10 thoughts on “The Last Illusion

  1. LordRaven

    Opera and love, timeless tales of things that seem only befitting beings that are almost godlike in themselves. at a previous point in my life I would always tell my friends that were in love that Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

  2. Molly

    I definitely used to feel like this and then it happened to me and it changed everything


    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Hi Molly, I saw your very uplifting post and it made me smile.


  3. May

    I found this very interesting and I kinda understand what you mean. Love is an extremely strange emotional – not intellectual – conundrum. Indeed I have loved, and thought I was loving, yet looking back I am not certain that It was real at all. Thank you for daring to share your feeling about love

    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you. This post has had some interesting feedback, publicly and privately. I’m rather pleased that agree or not, understand or not, it has got people thinking.

      You’re so right about the emotional requirement, I’ve seen it staring back at me. Understanding it, but also confounded by it.

      And like so many writing online I’m damned if I know why I don’t mind sharing 🙊🙈


  4. Posy Churchgate

    You put this so well, and like Rebel I feel a little sad that love is and illusion to you, or only viewed from the sidelines. Nobody would actively seek the lows of love, but the highs are wonderful, and even though they are usually short-lived, they simmer down to a comfortable linking of two people, with loyalty and trust, which I hope you have experienced to an extent with true friend.

    Love in opera and literature can be stylised, but often it is the creator of the medium trying to pin down and define those feelings which are wispy like smoke while also the ties that bind.

    I like your perspective Melody – I always do – so pleased you shared it for this meme.

    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Wonderful commenting as usual. Thank you xx

  5. Marie Rebelle

    I am sorry that love is still an illusion to you. There was a time when I thought true love would never be mine, and then it found me 🙂

    Rebel xox

    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thanks Marie.

      I’m pleased when I see it in others, like Molly’s post.

      I have no hang ups from it and I like to think there are emotional compensations.

      Had to join in #WickedWednesday again and liked the prompt.

      Thanks for reading and commenting xx


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